Innovation at Windsor: Alan Wildeman

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In September, the 10K crew went on location to the 2017 Ontario Universities’ Fair, to interview a dozen higher ed leaders about trends in innovation.

Alan Wildeman has served as the President and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Windsor for a full decade. (He was appointed in July 2008 and recently announced his retirement for the end of June 2018.) In this special bonus episode, edited to 7 minutes, Ken asks Alan 3 key questions.

Innovations at Windsor?

Alan points to his university’s community engagement and new downtown facilities in heritage buildings. Innovative cross-border collaborative degrees with the University of Detroit-Mercy, such as the dual juris doctor (law degree) and Visual Arts – Architecture pathways. And the Sexual Assault Bystander Initiative, piloted last year, which will be rolled out to every incoming first-year student by Fall 2018.

The Decade Ahead?

Alan predicts steadily increasing interdisciplinarity, such as between computing and automotive engineering, or environmental science and the social sciences. He also observes that the steadily growing diversity of Canada and of its campuses, particularly the University of Windsor, will become a major engine of innovation in academe and the economy.

Culture of Innovation?

Alan observes that university leaders don’t have all the answers, but need to set the conditions and context for creative people to unleash their own potential for innovation. For example, Windsor’s SPF50 Strategic Priorities Fund is allowing them to hire 50 tenure-track faculty in priority areas, injecting fresh ideas and new diversity among the faculty. Windsor has also put in place a $1 million curriculum reform and development fund, to conduct market research, develop new courses and interdisciplinary programs.

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